If an animal is healthy overall, this should be reflected in the quality of its skin. When quality is poor, it generally indicates that something else is wrong. Dog skin problems can be caused by either parasites, infections or allergies. Sometimes metabolic disorders or stress can have negative impacts as well. It is important to seek medical help when any changes in a pets external health are noticeable. A failure to do so may result in further deterioration of a pets health or passing along infections to other animals or even humans.
The symptoms of problems are very diverse. Key behaviors such as frantic scratching, frequent licking, or even chewing should not be ignored. Pets might also signal discomfort by rubbing up against furniture or carpets. When these behaviors are recognized, a closer look should be taken at the fur and skin of the animal.
Lesions, rashes, bald spots, scaly patches or scabs are reasons to notify a veterinarian. Additional reasons include discoloration, lumps, swelling, pus, blood or redness. Multiple conditions are possible causes of most symptoms. Therefore, a professional needs to conduct tests to identify and then properly treat each animal.
Pests may be the source of problems. The bites and droppings of fleas can create lingering irritation. Some pets may even be allergic to the saliva in a flea bite, making matters worse. In addition to this, certain flea control methods readily available on the market can be aggravating.
Different infections can plague the skins surface. These include fungal, bacterial or yeast type infections. Fungal infections can include ringworm. Ringworm can result in the presence of scaly patches, baldness and irritation. Ringworm is particularly troublesome as it can be passed to other animals as well as people if left untreated. Bacterial or yeast infections normally occur only after the skin is compromised, further exacerbating the original problem.
Allergies can affect skin as well. These may be aggravated by naturally occurring irritants from the outdoors or allergies to food. Outdoor allergies improve or worsen with the seasons, and depend on the circulating amounts of dust, pollen, grass, or mold. Foods that typically cause reactions contain chicken, beef, soy, corn or wheat based ingredients. Food additives, such as colorings, can also be aggravating.
Problems may also have a behavioral component. A dog living in a very loud environment may experience heightened levels of stress. As a result, it may lick and gnaw at itself. It can also perform the same behaviors simply if it is bored. This is one reason why daily exercise and attention are very important for pets.
Most of these skin issues are avoidable. Preventative measures include using only products on your dog that were intended for animals. In addition, a hypoallergenic diet free of synthetic or empty ingredients is very important. Dogs should be kept in calm and quiet environments, and in clean conditions. This will prevent the animal from high levels of stress and make its surroundings less pest friendly. Methods to further prevent infestations by pests can be provided by a veterinarian.